How to store your wetsuit easily

Winter riding is haaaaard in the UK, and in many other cold places.  Sorry, not sorry, but I don’t feel bad for anyone who has to succumb to a 3.2mm wetsuit to get on the water because it cools down to 16c or something.  Try passing the handle in 5.4mm of rubber with cold muscles.  Not easy.

However, I do ride throughout the winter on our little grey covered island.  If I didn’t man up and ride, it would be six months off the water for sure.  And to top it off, I don’t even like the cold.  I hate it in-fact, (unless its in the mountains).  Along with wind and rain.  I can deal by wearing good clothing, base layers and of course, great wetsuits.

As well as riding/coaching at my local lakes, I tend to ride at a few different cable parks to keep it interesting, just as you would surf at different surf spots or snowboard on different runs/resorts.  Obviously with this, comes some road time.  I recently got my paws on a couple of Dry Bags (the Pro and the Elite). What are these I hear you ask?  They are specifically designed bags to store your wetsuit in so they can dry.  They work by hanging your wetsuit in half over a huge hanger (so you don’t stretch out the shoulders), allowing your wetsuit to drip dry.  When I heard about these bags, I was immediately on board.  So now, when I’m leaving a lake in my car, instead of putting my wetsuit in a giant plastic bag that has seen better days, I hang it in my new Dry Bag, and attached it to one of the handles in the back seat.  This means my wettie starts drying before I even get home and its such an easy way to store my wetsuit in the car without getting it even dirtier than it already is!  Genius.

They come in pretty handy over the winter for storing your wetsuit (or wetsuits, these bad boys can hold two suits at a time) as well.  Like if you hang it up in the garage, you could protect it from dust, dirt and spiders (yes, that is defo a legit reason for zipping you wettie away!  Who wants to put their hand in a wetsuit leg to turn it round the right way and grab a tarantula?  No one.).  Its ventilated as well so it won’t be festering or growing a colony.

Or if you love your wetsuit and don’t have a shed or a garage, and you store it indoors (the Dry Bag Elite is better for this), this will separate it from your towels, clothes etc so you don’t get that lovable wetsuit smell rubbing off on them.

The other thing I’m pretty excited about is when I’m staying over night somewhere, whether it be in a hotel or camping, I can hang my wetsuit in my car over night and know its stored away and drying ready for the next day! How many times have you had to put on wet wetsuit the second or third day because you couldn’t dry it over night…. too many.  Actually, I usually take a second wetsuit.  But if you don’t have the monies for a second wettie, the Dry Bag is a cheaper option so you don’t have to put on a wet wettie the next day.

So I might see you at the lake over these freezing months, but I might not be recognisable under 1000’s of mm of neoprene!

What wetsuit drying / travel issues or hacks do you have?  Get in touch!

Homemade: How to make Christmas Decorations, Handprint Santas, Pallet Christmas Trees & Pine Cone Centrepieces

This year I went a bit homemade craft mad.  I love Christmas but having two small children kept me pretty busy.  Now as I’m coming up for air as my kidlets are getting bigger, I can do more with them.  Like turn them into elves to help me with making some Christmas decorations.

We started with the classic salt dough Christmas tree ornaments.  I say classic, I have never made salt dough in my life.  But its super easy.  One cup of flour, half a cup of salt and half a cup of water.  Mix together and kneed for about 10mins and roll it out ready to cut your shapes.  I didn’t have any cutters so I had to freestyle it, if you couldn’t tell.  I used a straw to punch the hole for the ribbon.

Next up, Santas using the kids hand prints.  These were pretty cool, I used salt dough again, got the kids lined up to press their hands (lightly; not so hard that their tiny fingers went through to the work surface) into the salt dough.  This was done a couple of times before success.  After they were dry, and kids were not around, I spray painted the Santas with two coats of white acrylic paint.  Then I painted on the red Santa hat, followed by the face.  Then I used gold glitter and acrylic gloss mixed together to outline the Santa.  Once all was dry, I painted over the hole thing with acrylic gloss.  I stupidly showed the grandparents.. now they’re expecting some for Christmas.

Then onto the pallet Christmas tree!  So I got my husband to deal with the cutting, he cut a pallet into the shape of a Christmas tree and fixed extra wood from the pallet onto the bottom so that it would stand up.  I painted a couple of coats of white on it with the kids, let it dry and wrapped some lights around it. Theres so much more you could do with these but I kept it simple and ran out of time, and creativity.  Pretty basic as you can see but thats exactly what I wanted.

And finally, I made a table centrepiece.  I collected some off cuts from my Christmas tree, gathered up some jars and old candle holders, some standard table salt, some string and some pine cones.  This sits nicely on some baskets in my kitchen out of the way of prying kidlet hands…

How to make your tray of Christmas goodness:

  1. Go to a forest and collect pine cones.  Or take you kids, give them a bag each and make them do it.  The one who has the most pine cones wins.  Not sure if they actually won anything, but they just win.  At life.
  2. Soak the pine cones in some warm water, I also used dettol.  Let them dry out and they will open up.
  3. Soak the jars in warm water, then peel or use wire wool to scrub the labels off. Also scrape any candle wax out of any old candle glasses.
  4. Once the pine cones are dry, put some newspaper down and spray them with some white acrylic spray paint.  Once dry, turn them over and spray the other side.  Let them dry.
  5. Cut a length of string and wrap it around the top of the jar maybe six to seven times, tie it off with a bow or a knot, your choice.
  6. Fill the jars with about an inch or so of salt (this is great as you won’t run out of salt for the next year).
  7. Stick some of your Christmas tree off cuts in the salt in half of the jars.
  8. Pop candles of your choice in the other half of the jars.
  9. Place all jars on a tray how you like, scatter the pine cones around the jars to fill the gaps.
  10. Light the candles and enjoy your table masterpiece!

Must dash, got a lasagna just finishing up in the oven and a glass of red with my name on it.

Happy Christmas everyone! xx

 

How to wakeboard through the winter in England

Ahhhh its that time of year again..  The time when the trees are bare, the time when driving gets a bit dodgy because the sun sits in that awkward low position for most of the day.  The time when you never have enough windscreen wash in your jet things.  The time when you physically have to peel yourself off the sofa and get your ass to the gym when the only thing you want to do in the evening is veg out in your pjs with a glass of wine (cough, Sherry).  Basically that time of year when England turns into a very gloomy place.  Or it does for me anyway.

Theres an up side as well though… Hallelujah!  You know those rare bluebird days when theres been a frost and the air is crisp?  Those are my favourite days in the English winter.  Unless it snows… I love snow.

Those crisp days are the best ones to ride on, theres just something slightly magical about them, even if they are bloody freezing.  However, they don’t come about to often, so you just have to suck it up and ride in the miserable grey windy, drizzly weather this beautiful little island attracts.

Photo Credit: Toby Oliver @ CWP

So, how do we survive riding throughout the winter….?

  1. Go abroad.  Get on a plane and go ride somewhere hotter than here, preferably for the season and you’ll come back all tanned and smug because you’ve got a whole new bag of tricks.
  2. If you’re going to ride in the UK, get a decent wettie.  Don’t prat around with some useless piece of rubbish neoprene.  Invest.  I’m in the new Mystic Diva 5.3mm and its toastie warm.
  3. If you’re rocking the open toe, get some socks.  Otherwise get your hands on some Systems because you’re basically walking around in a snug snowboard style boot – toastie tootsies!
  4. Gloves.  Its a coin toss really.  Do you want frostbite or do you want that unavoidable forearm ache that you only get with gloves.  I go for the arm ache personally.  Saves my manicure.
  5. Maintenance.  If you’re landing new tricks in the winter in the UK – give yourself a huge pat on the back.  Otherwise, just maintain what you can already do so that you come into the next season ready to go.
  6. Keep active.  You can’t sit around doing nothing all winter and then expect to be able to shred your tits off come April.  Keep those muscles active and work out in other ways, whether it be gym work, cycling, running, yoga… just keep moving.
  7. Take your mates.  Theres no fun in riding alone in the winter.  Fact.  And if theres people with you, you’re more likely to actually ride rather than sit in the cafe with a cuppa.
  8. Flask.  Invest in a flask and fill it to the brim with hot tea / coffee / hot choc… you’ll be grateful post ride.
  9. Leave time for a shower afterwards – to warm up obvs.
  10. If theres no shower, take a sleeping bag and drive home wearing it.  Jokes.  Take thermals, sweats, mountain attire; anything to keep you warm until you get home.
  11. Fun is the word.  Just be grateful you’re able to get out there and ride.
Photo Credit: Janni @ CWP